Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Guest Review: Island of Icarus by Christine Danse

Christine Danse
Island of Icarus
Carina Press, 2010

Field Journal of Jonathan Orms, 1893

En route to polite exile in the Galapagos Islands (field work, to quote the dean of my university), I have found myself marooned on a deserted tropical paradise. Deserted, that is, except for my savior, a mysterious American called Marcus. He is an inventor—and the proof of his greatness is the marvelous new clockwork arm he has created to replace the unsightly one that was ruined in my shipboard mishap.

Marcus has a truly brilliant mind and the gentlest hands, which cause me to quiver in an unfamiliar but rather pleasant way. Surely it is only my craving for human companionship that draws me to this man, nothing more? He says a ship will pass this way in a few months, but I am welcome to stay as long as I like. The thought of leaving Marcus becomes more untenable with each passing day, though staying would be fatal to my career...

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Steampunk, Self-discovery

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames

Guest review by Lis:

When I received Island of Icarus a little while ago the thing that attracted me most about this book was the Steampunk. Steampunk has become a new favorite interest of mine and while I don't walk around in Steampunk clothes, I love to read the stories with Steampunk elements.

Island of Icarus is about Jonathan and Marcus. Jonathan is the scientist who teaches at University and has a perfectly normal, if what boring, life. That is until he lost his arm in an accident. He's fitted with a clockwork prosthetic that is very Steampunk. Despite that, he isn't normal anymore and the University “pushes” him to do some fieldwork. En route there is a great big storm and like all great adventures he washes up on a deserted island. Only, the island is not as deserted as it first looks. It's inhabited by a brilliant doctor named Marcus who's there to do his own brand of research. If you know your Greek mythology it's not hard to guess what!

Marcus fits Jonathan with a new arm that is better than his old one and from there a friendship develops between the two. The friendship and the consequent romance that follows is slow to build, but real. Throughout the story both characters explore their feelings, though as the story is told from Jonathan's point of view you get a better insight into his feelings than Marcus’s.

The downside of a story written in first person is that you don't get a real insight into the thoughts and motivations of the other characters. In this case Marcus. We only know what Jonathan knows and in this story I found that to be a bad thing, because I found Marcus a much more interesting character than Jonathan. Marcus is a determined man, not willing to let himself be ruled by society and sets out to make his own fate.

The fun thing about this story is also that there are almost no secondary characters as most of the story is set on the Island. It's a strength that the author knows how to keep the reader engaged with such a limited setting and cast of characters.

This story really is more a journey of self discovery and coming to terms with your sexuality than a romance, but in a way it fits the story as well as the writing. Jonathan's thoughts and speech match the period it is set in. He is an intriguing character.

What I didn't quite get was the title. The myth of Icarus is about the escape from an island on which Icarus and his father Daedalus are imprisoned. Daedalus builds a set of wax wings.
While Icarus is the one who flies away (and attempts to fly too close to the sun and as a result his wings melt and he crashes and burns) Daedalus is the one who built the wings. He is the master craftsman, like Marcus, not Icarus. Therefore the title didn't quite fit in my eyes. However, there could be another meaning to the title that I missed.

Island of Icarus is a beautiful story and while it didn't manage to draw me in, it could be the story that you are looking for!

Christine Danse’s website | on Goodreads | on Twitter | on Tumblr

Buy Island of Icarus here



  1. This sounds interesting. Wonderful review!

  2. don't walk around in Steampunk clothes

    You don't?? How can you resist, ha, ha! Great rev, Lis. I was curious about this one. It's good to know more.

  3. oooh...I want this one! Thx for the review!

  4. Lily: it does, doesn't it!

    Val: well... the jewelry is really really nice. Hmmmm.

    Mandi: go get it!!!

  5. Steampunk, wohoo, I so want more from this genre. It's just...great, lol

  6. Confession: I have never read a Steampunk romance... I don't really know what it is, lol! So, it looks like this would be a good one to try that new-to-me genre, right? :)

  7. The title definitely invokes inventors and flight. Hmm.

  8. B: Steampunk is pretty darn cool! hint: Katie macAlister!

    Janna: since you're such a fan of Sean Kennedy, I'd try his book first. So much more fun!

    Chris: hmmm good or hmmm bad? ;-)

  9. Thank you Lis. Hmmm. I'm intrigued :)


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